Gearing up for giving

PHOTO BY RICHAR RICCHIUTI, ZEBRA JELLYFISH PHOTOGRAPHY.

Blaine Howerton
North Forty News

At their new location in Loveland the Food Bank for Larimer County is more prepared than ever to get food to people who need it. Their new kitchen is 212% larger with a deep freezer and two cold storage areas. Each year staff and volunteers produce nearly 170,000 meals with the need for more meals continually increasing.

“In a nutshell the move was really to expand the space, increase efficiency and make it a more enjoyable experience for our volunteers,” said Paul Donnelly, Communications Manager with the Food Bank For Larimer County. Volunteers donated nearly 39,000 hours last year (38,546 to be exact).

A larger space is just one part of the solution to get more people fed in Northern Colorado. This year a generous donor provided the Food Bank with a 53-foot, 18 wheeler refrigerated semi-truck. This Thanksgiving season the organization will use the truck for the first time to help gather more than 3,000 turkeys.

“Every Thanksgiving is a challenge. We have over 100 programs that we work with. The local food stores don’t start putting turkeys out in large quantities until mid-November and we have to turn them around within 7-10 days,” said Donnelly.

One of their solutions is to centralize the receiving of the donations at a one-day event on November 15th. The first annual “Stuff the Truck” event will be located in the old K-mart shopping center at College and Drake from 3-6pm.  The food bank hopes to collect thousands of turkeys within hours, cutting back on the logistics and expense of gathering food at many different locations. This year for the first time they will have the capacity of a tractor-trailer to collect the turkeys and keep them cool in a refrigerated truck.

Another very successful program is called the “Turkey Roundup” (in partnership with the Poudre School District). The competition among schools helps the Food Bank gather well over one thousand turkeys for people in need. In recent years, PSD schools have donated an average of 1,750 frozen turkeys annually (1,674 in 2017, 1,961 in 2017, 1,623 in 2015).

The 32nd annual “Cans Around the Oval” wrapped up in mid-October. The Food Bank (in partnership with CSU’s SLiCE, (Student Leadership Involvement and Community Engagement) collected 35,456 pounds of non-perishable items to feed the hungry this year. Financial donations were higher than ever with a record breaking $61,459.00 raised.

“We want to thank all who contributed food and monetary donations, participated in CANStruction, and volunteered at Collection Day,” said Sarah Stephens, senior program coordinator for the Student Leadership, Involvement, and Community Engagement (SLiCE) office, which leads the annual Cans efforts. “We also thank the Food Bank for Larimer County for their continued partnership and support with this program. We are so appreciative of the collective efforts and the significant donations raised to better support food insecure folks and alleviate some of the burdens experienced by these individuals in our greater community. We are so appreciative of everyone at CSU and in the community who gave generously this year.”

PHOTO PROVIDED BY THE FOOD BANK FOR LARIMER COUNTY. Customers line up to get food at the Fort Collins facility.

For those in need, resources are available through an extensive list of community partners throughout Northern Colorado. Four mobile food pantries drive to locations, creating outreach in rural areas. More permanent community pantries are available in strategic places throughout Larimer County. For a full list of community and mobile food pantries go to: https://foodbanklarimer.org/where_do_i_go/

The message of giving is plentiful during Thanksgiving, but in order to provide for our most vulnerable neighbors the Food Bank for Larimer County needs help throughout the year. “Our biggest challenge is reminding people that giving all year round is important,” said Donelly. Programs in other seasons help with that (such as collections from area scouting troops, mail carriers, churches and other strategic partnerships).

Financial giving is the most effective way for the organization to get food to those in need. The Food Bank for Larimer County website claims that with every dollar you provide they provide $5 in food. Donations can be given online at: https://foodbanklarimer.org/

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